The state’s Merino ram sales have defied the dry times across much of the state with many near total clearances at on-property sales.
The season’s highest price was $60,000 for a ram from Mallee-based stud Gunallo at the Classings Classic sale at Murray Bridge earlier this month.
The same week, the Adelaide Stud Merino and Poll Merino Sale also reached dizzy heights, with 13 rams making $20,000 or more, attracting buyers from across Australia.
This included the $46,000 sale-topper from Collinsville stud, Mount Bryan.
On-property, the best money has been $18,000 for a ram from White River stud, Poochera, but in the final week of sales there has been a flurry of five-figured rams.
Elders SA stud stock manager Tony Wetherall said it had been fantastic to witness the enthusiasm of buyers re-investing sensational wool and meat prices.
Most sale averages had remained close to 2017 but a few localised ones had even lifted.
“If every stud that had a Merino sale had been told in June that their sale had been where it ended up they would have taken that any day,” he said.
He said many with self-replacing Merino flocks were opting to mate a higher proportion of their ewes to Merinos, which had kept clearance rates up
Some astute buyers had bought a couple of extra rams in anticipation of higher prices next year.
“If we have even an average year across all the areas we wouldn’t have had enough Merino rams, and with the prices we have already seen for young ewes it is going to be ‘on’ next year – season permitting,” he said.
Landmark SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood agreed results had been better than expected.
“We always hope to see prices rise each year and things flow on but with the lack of rain in big parts of SA and the western division of NSW which support a lot of the sales, it was hard to see how it could have been better, but it has in many sales,” he said.
“The will to increase Merino ewe numbers has been strong enough to hold sales up – bring on 2019.”
The buoyancy of the Adelaide Ram Sale in particular showed how SA’s genetics were in demand.
“We have a dual-purpose animal here – a large-framed, fast-growing animal that produces a good amount of wool without producing wool to the detriment of carcase,” he said.